Quinn on Nutrition: Living with 1 kidney | TribLIVE.com
Health

Quinn on Nutrition: Living with 1 kidney

1014965_web1_WaterGlass
File
To help a lone kidney remove wastes from the blood, school-aged children need 6 to 7 cups of fluids a day.

A reader who read a recent column about caring for our kidneys, writes: “I did not realize that the kidneys provided so much to our bodies. My granddaughter was born with 3 kidneys; by the time she was two she had to have the two kidneys that were together taken out because they were non-functioning. She is now 6 and she has many (urinary tract infections) and gets sick easier than other children. We have been having her drink water all the time. What else can we do to help her body to function properly with only one kidney?

— Jodi Z.

Dear Jodi,

According to experts at the National Kidney Foundation and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, most people with one kidney live healthy, normal lives with few problems. But when one kidney must do the work of two, we need to protect it with a few extra precautions.

Be water-wise. To help a lone kidney remove wastes from the blood, children the age of your granddaughter need 6 to 7 cups of fluids a day. And that includes liquids like milk and juice. Of course, her pediatrician or dietitian may have more specific recommendations for her particular health condition.

Eat a healthful diet. I know, I know, what in the heck does that mean? It means diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can seriously injure kidneys, so eating to avoid these problems is especially important for people with just one of these valuable organs. This is a perfect time to expose your granddaughter to a dietary pattern that can help avoid these problems as she gets older.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, for example, is rich in fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy foods whose nutrients work synergistically to maintain a normal blood pressure. Your 6-year-old needs about 1 cup of fruit, 1.5 cups of vegetables and 2.5 cups of low fat milk or yogurt a day.

Avoid excess protein. To help her grow and fight infections, a typical 6-year-old needs about 3 ounces of meat, fish, eggs, peanut butter and other high protein foods each day. Too much protein, however, could make her lone kidney work harder to process the byproducts of this nutrient.

Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight puts kids (and adults) at risk for diabetes which can put extra strain on kidneys. Help your granddaughter grow normally with resources such as ChooseMyPlate for kids.

Protect that kidney! Although children should be encouraged to be physically active, a single kidney may be more vulnerable to injury. Some doctors advise their patients with a solitary kidney to avoid contact sports such as football, boxing, hockey, soccer, martial arts or wrestling.

Have regular check ups. At least once a year, your granddaughter’s pediatrician may want to check her blood pressure and run simple blood and urine tests to make sure her kidney is doing well.

Hope this helps.

Categories: News | Health Now
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.